I know a lot of us may have some garden problems so I want to address a few of them today. We may have amended our garden soil, planted a lot of seeds and we are so excited to see the little sprouts coming through the soil. Life is so good, right? Then we start to see a few garden problems we hadn’t expected. Well, almost all of them are fixable. Let’s get started right now.
Please wear gloves when working in the soil in your pots, raised garden beds, or garden in the ground. I try to buy several pair of garden gloves at the end of the summer each year because they are at rock-bottom prices. If you need a pair now, these are like the ones I use: Garden Gloves
If you are looking for garden seeds, this is where I buy mine: SeedsNow
Soil pH Levels
What Does The Term pH Level Mean
Are you wondering what the term pH level is when gardening? Each plant prefers a different level of acidity to grow the very best harvest. The level of acidity desired varies between each plant. Therefore, you can adjust the pH of your soil by adding lime or sulfur to bring it up or down, depending on what your soil needs. You can have your soil tested, possibly by your state extension service, or try and do it your self with a soil tester. pH Tester
How To Hand Pollinate
All you need is a paintbrush if you need to hand pollinate because you are not seeing any fruit develop. Here is something you may want to try. You do this by removing the male blossom (male blossoms do not have fruit behind them). They produce pollen leaving the center covered in the pollen to collect with the brush. Use a “brush” to apply the pollen you collected to the center of the female flower. This works for squash, melons, and cucumbers most every time.
Common Garden Problems
I have had this powdery mildew before and I just cut off the leaves and sprayed the following solution on the plants. My squash grew back and I was able to harvest a decent crop. All you do is mix together 2-3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (5% acidic acid) with a gallon of water and spray the leaves and plant with the solution.
Oh man, do these pests bug me! We have several insects that thrive in our neighborhood and therefore we see a lot of them. I’ve tried hosing them off when I first see the invasion. It’s really hard because even though I tried killing the aphids with the proper spray ingredients, some of my neighbors don’t spray their trees or shrubs at all or with something that will kill the bugs. So the insects love to return and have a family reunion at my house.
You can see the goop dripping off trees where the aphids love to eat. The aphids secrete this sticky fluid called honeydew. Then the ants come. They will totally cover leaves and branches. Enough said.
If the hosing doesn’t work for you, you can spray them with a solution of a couple of teaspoons of liquid soap to one-quart of water and spray or wipe on the leaves and branches you can reach.
We all have weeks, it just depends on how many we have that’s the issue. They are annuals and they love to sprout, if not kept under control. It’s easier to pick small weeds and not let them go to seed. If they go to seeds, watch out for many more weeds next year.
We all have occasional droughts in our neighborhood, right? This year has been the exception with way too much rain and flooding in some areas. But those years when the air temperatures never drop, we may need to hand water our plants. Be sure and check the soil a few inches down to see how the water is penetrating the specific kinds of soil in your garden. Remember, the soil in the ground will absorb the water differently than the soil in the pots or raised beds. You need to adjust the sprinklers to properly cover the specific areas where you have plants, and do so based on the type of plant and the condition/type of soil.
Too Much Water/Rain
You’ve probably seen when your plants have a little or a lot of yellow on the leaves? It’s usually too much rain or excessive watering. I highly recommend testing the soil often for how dry it may be. Or if it’s too wet then cut back watering. It could be the fertilizer, so keep track of when you fertilize and how much.
Tomato Blossom End Rot
The first time I saw this I was sure it was from the heat. It was not the heat. I learned years ago what this means. It’s actually a calcium issue and not a disease. You can use this product if you happen to see the spots on your tomatoes. Bonide Blossom Rot. Apply it when you have excessive rains for days or weeks on the leaves, soil, and branches of the plant.
One year I added way too many coffee grinds to my garden and the nitrogen level became sky high. The neighborhood cats thought my garden beds were their litter box too. I guess I added too much so then I had to reverse the nitrogen levels. I now add my crushed egg shells in the soil.
I have to tell you a funny story, well kind of funny. We had a ton of snails in our yard up north and a neighbor suggested I put empty tuna cans filled part way up with some beer to catch the snails. The theory was the snails will crawl up the can, fall in and drown.
Well, maybe some did but my dog drank a little of the beer. He was drunk, not full-blown drunk, but was not himself. Don’t worry, I never did that again. I had no idea my dog would drink it. Well, it is an option to get rid of snails. The problem with snails or slugs, they carry diseases from leaves to other leaves. Branches to other branches. YIKES! I do not want snails or slugs on my produce.
Until I moved here, I only knew grubs ate grassroots. Nope, they thrive in my raised garden beds. In order to get rid of them in early spring before they hatch into beetles, I had to dig for them. Well, I dug up dozens of grubs and put them in plastic bags, then tied a knot for the trash. I watched a YouTube where a guy sifted his entire garden soil. Well, that’s not happening in my garden. I will keep digging.
These babies love to munch on leaves, flowers, and fruit nearby. They are really small, as in 1/3 to 1/2 inch long. You will see a metallic green head, with a copper colored body with black and white stripes on their sides. There are both nonchemical and insecticide options to get rid of these. Larvae feed on the roots of turf grass.
You can tell they have eaten the roots of your grass when you see small yellow patches that you can lift up easily. Japanese Beetle Killer or Beetle Trap We can hand pick them off as well if we get on it the minute we see some.
What About Crop Rotation?
We need to rotate our vegetable seeds and plants every other year so we do not delete our garden soil of nutrients. All you need is a garden book so you can write down what you planted where and what year. Then the next year, you know to plant those tomatoes or veggies in another area of your garden, for instance. It’s all about rotating our crops in different sections.
What About Too Much Fertilizer?
Typically plants will grow straight up too fast or may burn from too much fertilizer. This is why I have been written about different vegetables and their needs.
Did I Not Use Enough Fertilizer?
You will see empty spots where seeds should have sprouted or your plants are not growing equally. Use the correct fertilizer that works for your particular vegetables in your soil. This is why we need to check the pH level of our soil often and in several areas of the garden.
What About Too Much Mulch?
You can have problems with your plants or trees if you put too much mulch in the soil. Typically the best amount is 2-4 inches deep. The plants and trees need air to breathe. Fall is the best time to mulch the areas of your garden. Keep in mind, organic mulch is the best. We need to know that the mulch is organic and safe to put in our garden beds.
I hope today’s post helps you work through some of your garden problems. Where I live we have so many insects, critters, and wild rabbits, I have to protect my garden a little more than I did when I lived in other cities. It’s crazy, but I will not give up. We can work through our issues, one step at a time. May God bless this world, Linda